College of Humanities
Dean: Paul Sherwin

College of Science and Engineering
Dean: Sheldon Axler

NEXA Program
HUM 415
Director: Geoffrey Green

Undergraduate Adviser:  G. Green


Professors—Anton, Fisher, Goldman, Green, Lea, Luckey, Luft, Peel, Pestrong, Peters, Rivera, Shapiro, Stanley, Zimmerman

Associate Professor—Shoerke

Lecturers—Branstetter, Connell, Drescher, Goldhaber, Green, Mahaney, Morel, Nutting, Sammons, Sours, Tromborg


Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies: Concentration in NEXA
Minor in NEXA
Minor in Ethical Issues in Science and Technology

Program Scope

Founded in 1975 under a development grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), NEXA was originally known as "Science and Humanities: A Program for Convergence." The NEXA curriculum was supported jointly by NEH and San Francisco State University and partially by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Since fall semester 1979, the NEXA instructional program has been fully supported by the university.

NEXA provides a unique curriculum that may be used by students in several ways (major, NEXA minor, General Education, or electives). NEXA courses are focused on areas of interest and concern shared by a variety of disciplines and perspectives. Most NEXA offerings are taught cooperatively by pairs of instructors representing different, but complementary, fields of knowledge. Faculty from fourteen departments participate in NEXA, and the program consists of about twenty courses, most of which are offered once each year.

The NEXA program is charged with maintaining a curriculum that demonstrates the historical, philosophical, and ethical interactions among humanities, arts, and the physical and social sciences. NEXA's general objective is to provide a point of convergence among diverse fields of knowledge, and to offer the student a form of liberal education that is both modern and substantial.

NEXA courses span western cultural history from Mesopotamian origins to the present day. The NEXA curriculum is divided into three groups: Concepts, Sequences, and Issues.

NEXA organizes and presents public events on topics of general concern to both sciences and humanities. These events range from talks to panel discussions to colloquia and symposia, all of which relate to some aspect of NEXA's mission of enhancing the possibilities of convergence among academic disciplines. For example, colloquia are often devoted to exploring the implications for ethical responsibility and public policy of such questions as recombinant DNA and nuclear energy. Symposia are addressed to such large intellectual issues as sociobiology, Einstein's cultural influence, and the cultural and technological relationships between China and the West. NEXA's public events are designed to place San Francisco State University at the center of new thought and creative debate, both locally and nationally. Additionally, since 1996, NEH has supported H-NEXA, an international scholarly Internet forum serviced by Michigan State University. H-NEXA expands the scope of the NEXA enterprise for scholars and other professionals in the humanities, arts, and sciences.

NEXA courses are available to students, regardless of major, either for General Education or for elective credit. (NEXA 698, however, is reserved for NEXA majors and minors.)

The NEXA minors are designed to serve the needs of students who are primarily committed to other academic disciplines, but who believe that an understanding of the historical and humanistic context of science or, conversely, the influence of scientific thought on our cultural tradition, would be a valuable adjunct to their specialized educations.

Career Outlook

NEXA was created to provide a new model of liberal arts education at San Francisco State University. NEXA does not prepare the student for any single career; rather, it provides a coherent intellectual basis for a life as well as for a profession.

Students choosing NEXA courses for elective credit or for a formal NEXA Minor should discover that this curriculum enhances their majors by providing interdisciplinary background, richness and depth. NEXA offers the kind of broadly humanistic experience that is often identified as desirable by post-graduate institutions, such as schools of medicine and law. In this way, NEXA supplements programs that prepare students for specific careers.

Inasmuch as NEXA focuses on questions of values, it exposes students to problems of value differentiation and value choice that are crucial in the practice of any professional career as well as in the conduct of one's life.


A NEXA concentration in Liberal Studies is available. For information on this program, see the Liberal Studies section of this Bulletin.


The NEXA curriculum is divided into three groups: Concepts, Sequences, and Issues. On-line course descriptions are available.

NEXA 200 Science and Culture
NEXA 281 Mythic and Scientific Thought
NEXA 360 The Visual World of Science and Art
NEXA 380 Cosmologies and World Views
NEXA 383 The City in Civilization
NEXA 384 Words, Culture, and Change
NEXA 392 Nature, Culture, and Technology
NEXA 456 Reality and the New Physics
NEXA 340 The Nuclear Revolution
NEXA 387 Origins of Modern Science
NEXA 389 The Darwinian Revolution
NEXA 390 The Einsteinian Revolution
NEXA 318 Science as Literature
NEXA 330 Marxism, Feminism, and Social Change
NEXA 333 The Idea of Progress
NEXA 362 Computers in the Arts and Humanities
NEXA 368 Dangerous Liaisons: Don Juan Myth in Music and Literature
NEXA 369 The Demonic Pact: The Faust Myth in Music and Literature
NEXA 397 Communication Between Humans and Other Animals
NEXA 440 Ethical Issues in Science and Technology
Directed Study Courses
NEXA 698 Senior Project
NEXA 699 Special Study (1-3)
Composition Course
NEXA 214 Second Year Written Composition: NEXA

For current information on the NEXA curriculum, please contact Dr. Michael Gregory, NEXA Program Director (415/338-1302).

The formal requirements for the NEXA minor are seven NEXA courses, with at least one from each of the Concepts, Sequences, and Issues subdivisions. A student electing the NEXA minor is required to consult a NEXA adviser no later than the second semester prior to graduation to discuss his/her interests and to draw up a plan for the minor program.

Program Requirements Units
Seven NEXA courses including at least 1 Concepts, 1 Sequences, and 1 Issues course 21
Total for minor 21

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